Umbra Fisk

Ask Umbra®

Advice for Living Green

Yours is to wonder why, hers is to answer (or try). Send your green-living questions to Umbra.

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Umbra Fisk is Grist Research Associate II, Hardcover and Periodicals Unit, floors 2B-4B.


Ask Umbra: Should I trade my big home in for a tiny house?

A reader wonders if a new tiny home would be greener than her old house. Umbra squeezes in an answer.


Ask Umbra: Are chemicals in my garden hose polluting my veggies?

A reader frets about nasties that cause endocrine disruption and liver toxicity. Umbra tells her to keep her coil.


Ask Umbra: What’s the greenest way to re-side my house?

A reader wonders if polypropylene paneling is any better than vinyl. Umbra thinks outside the box.


Ask Umbra: Can I drink coffee with a clear conscience?

A reader wonders if her trenta caffe latte makes a grande mark on the planet. Umbra does a little venti-ing.


Ask Umbra: Is it OK to reuse biodegradable plastic spoons?

A reader asks if she can toss those colorful fro-yo spoons in the dishwasher and use them again. Umbra gives her the straight scoop.


Ask Umbra: Is it irresponsible to use cloth diapers in a drought?

A reader wonders if all that wash water turns a green option brown. Umbra says that's a loaded question.

Business & Technology

Ask Umbra: Who makes the most awesomely eco-tastic computers?

A reader wants to take a byte out of his environmental footprint. Umbra chips away at the problem.


Ask Umbra: Should I get my panties in a bunch?

A reader wonders about the bags her undies come in. Umbra says that's a delicates subject.


Ask Umbra: Is my compost pile contributing to climate change?

A reader worries that her banana peels are giving off bad gas. Umbra forks over some scrappy advice.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.